A horse uses its hocks in nearly everything it does – from stopping and standing to walking and galloping. Constant use and a prominently exposed point makehocks vulnerable to stress, fatigue and traumatic injury.
Your veterinarian may recommend a hock bandage in any number of situations, such as: following surgery; providing joint support for a weak foal; protecting a wound; or reducing heat and swelling in a strained joint.
Prevent or reduce swelling and edema
Applying a hock bandage is not without its challenges. Because of the shape and motion of the joint, it requires special techniques to make the hock bandage safe,secure and effective
Horses also tend to react more to a hock bandage than a lower leg bandage, and may be inclined to kick, fight or fidget. Stay alert and be prepared to move out of harm’s way if the horse reacts adversely to its hock bandage.
As with any type of bandage, a hock bandage can be hazardous if applied incorrectly. There is always the risk of injury to circulation, and to the tendons and ligamentsif the layers are not applied smoothly, evenly and with the right amount of tension.
If you have never bandaged a horse’s legs before, ask your veterinarian or an experienced equine professional to demonstrate the proper techniques. Practice under his or her supervision before doing it on your own.
Because of the bandage’s location, you will need materials that readily conform to the shape of the hock and permit movement without slipping or loosening. If the bandage will cover a wound or surgical site, the materials should also be sterile.
You will need:
|Place thick padding over sterile wound dressing||Place thick padding over sterile wound dressing||Use a figure 8 pattern to bandage around point of hock||Secure bandage with flexible adhesive tape.|
Because hocks are such vital structures, any injury to the joint or immediate area should be evaluated by a veterinarian.
If a hock bandage is required, do not be disappointed if your initial efforts are less than satisfactory. Even under the best of circumstances, the hock is a difficult place to secure a bandage. Work with your veterinarian, and, if necessary, employ him or her to change the bandage as needed.
Following some additional considerations: · A horse with a condition requiring a hock bandage should be confined to a stall or small run unless otherwise directed by your veterinarian. · Check the bandage several times a day to make sure it has not shifted or loosened. · Make sure the bandage does not cut off circulation, pinch the tendon at the back of the leg, create pressure sores, or cause discomfort. · Monitor and evaluate the horse carefully. If swelling develops above the bandage or at the point of the hock, or lameness increases, contact your veterinarian. · If the horse has an elevated temperature, becomes depressed or irritable, or loses its appetite, consult your veterinarian. ·Change the bandage at least every 2-3 days, or immediately if it becomes wet or soiled.
If you have any further questions or concerns about hock bandaging techniques, contact us.
This brochure was produced through a joint venture between 3M Animal Care Products and the American Association of Equine Practitioners.